Sylvia Petter is an Australian writer based in Vienna.
In 1993, she began to write fiction. She was an active member of the Geneva Writers’ Group (Geneva, Switzerland), serving on its steering committee and was in charge of publicity for its literary Journal, Offshoots – Writing from Geneva, as well as for the Biennial Geneva Writers’ Conference. Sylvia is a member of the Sydney chapter of International PEN and the Australian Society of Authors.
She has written more than fifty short stories, of which more than half have been published in print and on the web. In December 1997, one of her stories was broadcast on BBC World Service.
Her work has been published in print in the following publications: Australian Multicultural Book Review (Australia), The European Magazine (UK), FreeXpresSion (Australia), World Wide Writers (UK), Thema (US), Yomimono (Japan), BuzzWords Magazine (UK), Echoes Magazine (US), Ex Tempore (UN, Geneva), Beginnings (US), Southern Ocean Review (NZ), and Offshoots – Writing from Geneva, issues IV, V and VI. Her work has also appeared in the UK anthology, Woman to Woman; the Europress (France) anthology, Moments in Time; and more recently in Valentine’s Day – Revenge Stories: Women against Men, which was published by Duck Editions (Duckworth UK), and edited by Alice Thomas Ellis.
On the web, her work appears at Gangway (Australia), The Richmond Review (UK), Eclectica (US), La Petite Zine (formerly with WebDelSol), Conspire (US), The Edifice (US), Seeker Magazine (US) Intercultural Platform (Netherlands), as well as in the web version of Southern Ocean Review (NZ).
In addition to working in the pre-Web days in an online Boot Camp run by the British writer, Alex Keegan, she has also worked with Robert Kendall in an online hypertext fiction course through the New School in New York using StorySpace software. She has also worked with Wayson Choy, Thomas E. Kennedy, Peter Ho Davies and Julian Rathbone at conferences in Toronto, Geneva and Winchester (UK). Timothy Findley was her mentor through Humber College, Toronto for her first novel, Tillandsia, which then received an editing mentorship with Carl Harrison-Ford through the NSW Writers’ Centre. She was also mentored by Peter Carey for parts of her second novel, Ambergris, again through Humber College’s 30-week correspondence courses.
Her first collection of stories, The Past Present, was published in print and as an e-book by IUMIX, Ltd (UK), a small publisher no longer in operation. The Past Present was a nominee for the 2002 Independent E-book Awards. Sylvia has given talks and readings in Geneva, Vienna, New Orleans, London and Sydney.
In July 2002, Sylvia gave a paper in the Civil Society segment of PrepCom1 of the World Summit on the Information Society. Her paper, Artists – Engineers of the imagination charting our voyage into humanity, was presented in the Session – The Arts and Virtual Reality – Missing Links in the Summit. In July 2002, in New Orleans, she read from The Past Present and presented a paper at the 7th International Conference on the Short Story in English entitled The Place of the Short Story in the Information Society. She also presented a paper at the INST Conference, The Unifying Aspects of Cultures in Vienna in 2003. Other articles on ebooks and writing have appeared in Australia and the UK, as well as on the Web. She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Caribbean Literatures and has contributed stories an essays to ESL/EFL books published by Lynx Publishing, Canada.
Her second collection of stories, Back Burning, won the IP Picks 2007 Best Fiction Prize and was published by Interactive Publications, Queensland, Australia, in November 2007. In 2008, she read from her work in Sydney, London, and Geneva, most recently at the Geneva Writers’ Conference where she served on a panel on writing on the web.
In 2009, Sylvia completed her PhD thesis in Creative Writing at the University of NSW in Sydney, Australia. The creative component is a novel, Ambergris; the critical component is an essay, “The Tell of Smell: Olfactory Imagery in Selected Works of Janette Turner Hospital”. She has given papers at colloquia in Cornwall, Dijon and Montreal. Future projects include a memoir mosaic of her mother’s life through the metaphor of craft and a review of her first novel, Tillandsia.
Janette Turner Hospital
Margaret Kennedy, Margaret Kennedy Agency, Brisbane, Australia
Interactive Publications (IP), Brisbane, Australia
Lynx Publishing, Vancouver, Canada
International PEN (Sydney)
Indigenous Literacy Project (Australia)
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